Islas Turcas y Caicos: tras controversia, Juez ratifica la plena libertad de expresión de los medios de comunicación


High Court judge Sir Bruce Robertson on Wednesday changed his court order which had clearly restricted media houses in the Turks and Caicos Islands from reporting the charges against two prominent lawyers.

The eminent New Zealand Judge who was imported specially to hear the case against 57-year-old Timothy Patrick O’Sullivan of the law firm Miller, Simons, O’Sullivan and 52-year-old Gordon William Kerr of the law firm Misick and Stanbrook, made an amendment to his original order which expressly stated that the media could only print “the identity of the parties, the name of the judge and of counsel representing the parties and the date of any future hearings”.

The judge ordered that the media can now carry the charges which he agreed were already in the public domain.

O’Sullivan and Kerr are charged with cheating the public revenue, conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to false account. Their cases have been adjourned until June 1, 2015.

When the court sat on Wednesday June 11th, the judge heard submissions from Andrew Mitchell, QC, the lead counsel for the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Team (SIPT), Andrew Radcliffe, QC, the lawyer for Kerr, Jim Sturman, QC, the lawyer for O’Sullivan.

Hayden Boyce, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Turks and Caicos SUN, who was in the court to monitor the proceedings, took the opportunity to make representations to the court on behalf of his newspaper and the local media.

Boyce was in the process of formally filing an application to the Supreme Court to vary or discharge the original court order, but he aborted the action after the judge made the amendment in open court.

“The fact that the judge changed his order to make it pellucidly clear that the media can now print the charges against the two lawyers, is, I think a rather significant victory for press freedom in the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Boyce said. “It also in some measure allays certain concerns which many observers have had about the justice system because, as I said before, it was starting to look like there was apartheid in the Turks and Caicos Islands judicial system, where there was seemingly one set of rules for certain persons and completely different conditions for others. So we should all be quite satisfied that the matter was resolved.”

The other lawyers in the case are Kennedy Talbot and Leonard Frankly for the Crown, Conrad Griffiths, QC, for Kerr and Peter Cadman and Jonathan Katan for O’Sullivan.